Spring 2011 Issue 12
University level The connections with education continue through to university level. General Dynamics UK has particularly strong relationships with a number of local universities. In addition to summer placements, it’s also offering ‘year in industry’ placements. And the Company finds that a significant part of its engineering graduate intake each year comes from these local universities.
“Obviously we don’t rule out people from other universities,” says Taylor. “We’re simply interested in getting the best graduates.” However, the Company’s engagement with the community does mean that it has a lot of pull-through from those local universities. “I think we’ve been very successful in attracting the top end of their people,” Taylor adds. “And I’m astounded by the quality of the people we get.”
Professional qualifications Once graduates join the Company, they go through a two-year graduate scheme where they normally rotate through different parts of the Company every six months. But the learning, and individual progress, does not stop there.
General Dynamics UK’s professional registration scheme has recently successfully completed accreditation processes with the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). This involved the Company demonstrating that it has the infrastructure to support individuals working towards registration, that it has suitable mentoring, with mentors that have the necessary breadth of understanding and experience, and that there are processes in place to encourage engineers to move into different areas, gain new experiences and take new opportunities.
This accreditation will enable employees to more easily qualify and become professionally registered as a Chartered Engineer (CEng), Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Engineering
Technician (EngTech). And it also has benefits for the organisation.
“It’s a way of proving to external bodies that we are competent,” says Taylor. “Some companies are content to say ‘we’ve got good engineers, we don’t need to prove it’. I take a different view. These qualifications show that we’ve gone through a vigorous process and achieve consistent standards. It’s proof of the quality of process that goes into developing people. We’re working all our people towards a higher level of professionalism.”
This is a process that starts with 10-year olds in school and continues until people obtain these professional qualifications in their late 20s. As Taylor explains: “The philosophy is: engage with people early and demonstrate that engineering is a good career; focus on the local community and get some pull- through; give people in work a real sense of responsibility, even when they’re doing a summer placement or year in industry; and challenge and stretch people, so that they have the expectation that they will become professional engineers.”
The Company encourages students from an early age to get involved in engineering
> Working with the Smallpeice Trust
In July, the Smallpeice trust is offering a course developed by Cardiff University and sponsored by General Dynamics UK and other industry players. It will provide students with an insight into mobile communications and the systems and technology that support it – drawing heavily on General Dynamics UK’s C4I expertise. The students will investigate the design and requirements of modern mobile communications systems via lectures and hands-on workshop sessions. They will get to meet and work alongside engineers from General Dynamics UK, to experience the challenges of engineering in the context of teamworking. And they will visit the Company to understand the industrial nature and importance of communication systems engineering.
For more information about the Smallpeice Trust, visit: www.smallpeicetrust.org.uk
Engineering Education Scheme: www. engineering-education.org.uk
EES Wales: www.eesw.org.uk
Trusted to deliver
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